Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Fiona Harvey writes that as we rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic, there's no reason to pretend that prosperity requires continued reliance on greenhouse gas emissions. David Roberts examines how a coherent climate plan is finally emerging in the U.S. And Max Fawcett writes that the pipeline posturing that has represented one of the primary talking points of Canadian petropoliticians will soon be obsolete no matter how desperately they try to cling to fossil fuels.

- Emily Holden reports on the dirty fossil fuel money behind the U.S. protests against public health orders. And Jeff Gray exposes how Doug Ford is using the pandemic as a pretext to offer giveaways to his developer donors without public consultation or review.

- George Monbiot highlights how the privatization of health and long-term care is at the root of the UK's coronavirus catastrophe. And Aaron Wherry writes that it's about time to include long-term care in our public health care system where it should have been all along, while John Michael McGrath opines that Ontario can no longer hide from the consequences of decades of austerity and deregulation.

- Patty Winsa examines the types of workers hit hardest by COVID-19, while Alex Ballingall focuses on the particular challenges facing care workers with insecure immigration status. Matthew Boesler and Reade Pickert note that even people who have retained their jobs have often been confronted with pay cuts and deteriorating working conditions. And Iglika Ivanova and Kendra Strauss examine who stands to benefit from the availability of sick leave (and by implication, who's being forced to work even while sick in its absence).

- Finally, Sharon Lindores reports on the favourable Canadian response to international discussion of a four-day work week.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ian Hilton talks to several progressive economists about the opportunities for change as we manage and emerge from the coronavirus crisis. And Andre Roncaglia de Carvalho writes about the importance of state planning in charting our future course.

- Nav Persaud and Steve Morgan discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed and strengthened the need for a national pharmacare system. And Carl Meyer reports on Canada Post's pilot projects testing the benefits of postal banking.

- Lynn Giesbrecht reports on the Moe Sask Party's failure to address children's programs and community opportunities as they've instead focused their plan for "reopening" around the business class, while Krista Broda calls for children's recreation to at least be included in the next phase. Matthew Yglesias highlights why it's far more important to focus on reopening schools than non-essential businesses. And the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), and Dr. Kathleen Lahey highlight the need to provide funding and resources to the women's sector. 

- PressProgress reports on Statistics Canada's warning that the urban Indigenous population may be particularly hard hit by COVID-19. And Kelly Provost reports that Saskatchewan has the highest rate of Indigenous cases of any province. 

- Finally, Hassan Yussuff calls for collective action to replace me-first thinking. And Nick French makes the case for radical workplace organizing as the foundation for renewed labour and social movements.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday Evening Links

Assorted content for your mid-week reading.

- Christine Boyle, Penny Gurstein, Matthew Norris and Jim Stanford make the case for a public option in housing. And PressProgress documents how for-profit seniors' homes are dominated by board members with no knowledge or experience in caring for people's health.

- Toby Sanger discusses how the pandemic has exposed how Canada's tax system excludes people with low incomes.

- I.F. Mason contrasts Doug Ford's rhetoric about supporting workers against his government's action in unfailingly forcing people to stay on the job in the face of unsafe work.

- Chad D. Cotti, Bryan Engelhardt, Joshua Foster, Erik T. Nesson and Paul S. Niekamp study how forced in-person voting caused an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk points out that Jason Kenney is trying to turn the trashing of environmental protections into the new normal.

- Finally, Gary Mason writes about the need to address the additional pandemic of domestic violence.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Elevated cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ethan Cox highlights how Canada's wealthiest few are raking in billions in additional wealth through the COVID-19 pandemic, and returning a pitiful amount in the form of charitable donations.

- Karl Nerenberg discusses how people already on the wrong end of social and economic inequality face disproportionate risks from plans to force people back to work while a lethal virus is still in circulation. And James Doubek reports on the "inequality on top of inequality" found in the U.S.' coronavirus death toll.

- Mahli Brindamour and Ayisha Kurji highlight the need to minimize the damage the continuing pandemic does to child development - which is particularly worth contrasting their against the provincial government's emphasis on restoring the normalcy of golf and recreational fishing before taking children's interests into account. Derek Thompson writes about the need to move beyond social distancing alone in minimizing the risk of transmission, while Jaason Geerts writes about some of the changes we'll need to make as a second wave of COVID-19 approaches.

- Don Pittis discusses the potential for economic transformation as we rebuild from COVID-19. And Mike Moffatt and John McNally warn that we need to prepare for a difficult if worthwhile trek toward a new normal, rather than pretending we can merely restart the old economy.

- Finally, Eleanor Ainge Roy reports on Jacinda Ardern's proposal for a four-day work week as one way of rebuilding for the better. And Ryan Stuart points out that a move toward smaller and more diverse agriculture can make us more resilient, in contrast to the potential shortage we're facing from centralized corporate processing.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ethan Cox writes that a large majority of Canadians favours massive public investments funded by more fair taxes on the wealthy as our road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And Aaron Wherry points out the folly of fixating on deficits and public-sector debts when there are far more important and urgent problems demanding our attention.

- Dakshana Bascaramurty, Carly Weeks and Eric Andrew-Gee discuss how vulnerable populations are facing a disproportionate share of the harm caused by COVID-19, while Elizabeth Leier highlights that reality in Montreal in particular. And Meenakshi Mannoe notes that selective policing is only making matters worse.

- Bill McKibben examines what it will take to avert catastrophic climate change - noting in particular the importance of not building additional fossil fuel infrastructure which results in continued carbon pollution.

- Emma McIntosh reports on Doug Ford's use of COVID-19 to undermine environmental regulation, as well as Ecojustice's push for him to reverse course. Archie Waquan writes about the effects of Jason Kenney's similar blanket destruction of regulation and consultation in Alberta, including its threat to a World Heritage Site. And Andrew Nikiforuk discusses Alberta's longstanding shell game when it comes to responsibility for oil site cleanup, while highlighting the Alberta Energy Regulator's rare order that Shell can't dump its existing obligations onto a smaller company.

- Finally, Hilistis Pauline Waterfall points out that many of the aspects of the coronavirus pandemic which are resulting in new traumas within settler populations are all too familiar for Indigenous people.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Laird Cronk and Sussanne Skidmore offer their take as to how to ensure everybody benefits from British Columbia's recovery plan. And Trish Hennessy discusses the need to build a more empathetic and inclusive society:
COVID-19 has exposed what many of us already knew: public health is the key driver of everything, from community wellbeing to a thriving economy. If ever there was a time to embrace a Health-in-All-Policies approach to government decision-making, it is now.

COVID-19 has exposed the short-sightedness of austerity budgeting, where governments prioritized tax cuts over needed investments in public services—in health and mental health, education, child care, social supports, affordable housing, public transit, long-term care, and more. Decades of government cuts removed the layers of protection that should have already been there for us to weather the COVID-19 storm. Governments that respond to re-emergence with more belt-tightening are doing more harm than good.

COVID-19 has exposed how profit should not be a motive for basic services, such as long-term care. It has also exposed weak links in the supply chain and the need to ensure domestic supply chains that are resilient and promote local inclusive economic initiatives. It is showing us that some services should be in public hands, not for profit.

The pandemic  has also exposed underlying structural inequities that have long existed but went ignored: inequities based on income, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and postal code (where you live). Those inequities interconnect to create health inequities, to limit life chances for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, and low-income. A crisis like COVID-19 only serves to magnify and deepend [sic] those inequalities.
There can be no going back to the old system, which failed to meet the needs of the modern labour market even before the arrival of the pandemic. Nor can we continue to ignore the need for a basic income standard, better support for people who work in the service, retail, accommodation, arts and culture, and caring sectors, and the regulation of “sharing economy” work.

Wellbeing. Equality. Inclusion. Resilience. Sustainability. People and planet before profits.

These are key principles that should guide us as we recover, reset, and rebuild.
- Better Dwelling points out how people have long been taking on increasing debt loads as the public sector has refused to invest in people's needs. And Jesse Snyder reports on the additional debt load COVID-19 is imposing on households (which, unlike governments, can't sustain them in the longer term).

- Polly Toynbee highlights the capital gains which are further distorting the distribution of wealth in favour of the ultra-rich. Luke Savage points out how tech giants have become the new robber barons, including by taking advantage of the crisis which has harmed the productive economy. Mark Harris discusses the cruel absurdity of pandemic disaster capitalism. And David Hillman makes the case for a Robin Hood tax to ensure the financial sector contributes its fair share toward the public good.

- The Canadian Press reports on the conditions attached to federal bailouts for large businesses, which properly include an equity stake for the public. But Canadians for Tax Fairness notes the need to do more to prevent tax dodging by corporate recipients of public aid.

- Finally, Jordan Leichnitz discusses the vital role the federal NDP is playing in ensuring that people aren't left behind by a federal government focused primarily on maintaining the capital-focused status quo.